Hemp seeds are among the countless superfoods that bloggers, television hosts, and our nutritious neighbor are talking about. That is why The Huffington Post recently wrote an eye opening article laying down all of the reasons why everyone should be eating hemp seeds.
This often overlooked superfood has proven to have multiple health benefits but the stigma of the cannabis plant has caused Australian legislators to bar citizens from ingesting the seeds. Currently it is only legal for hemp seeds to be used for the beauty and manufacturing industries, but advocates for the plant are hoping that will change in 2017. One of these advocates, CEO of Hemp Foods Australia Paul Benhaim, believes that legalizing hemp seeds for consumption can create an economic surge in Australia.
These are some cold hard facts about hemp seeds that could help the public understand the benefits and let go of their assumptions.
One of the main reasons that hemp for consumption remains illegal is because of the varietals of the plant that cause psychoactive and ‘high’ effects. Although they do grow on the hemp plant they carry little to no traces of THC, the cannabinoid in the plant that creates that effect in the mind. Benhaim told Huffington Post Australia,
"Hemp seeds are basically the fruit or nut of the hemp plant. It's a small crunchy seed and they are usually sold without the crunch -- we take the husk off which is a mechanical process -- and the inside meat is a white, soft, creamy substance.
7. Hemp Seeds Are Versatile
Paul Benhaim also informed us of the versatility of these tiny seeds, they have tons of uses. Hemp seeds can be used in salads, raw bars or energy balls, smoothies, dressings, sandwiches, yogurt & granola bowls, and more. People can use hemp seeds in foods that they’re already making like muesli and non-dairy milk options. The fact that so many foods can be garnished or created with these seeds make them a must try for anyone interested in their nutritional health.
6. High Plant Based Protein
Much like the North American chia seed, hemp seeds are an all-in-one super food that contain a notable quantity of complete digestible protein. As Benhaim puts it, “about 50-70 percent more protein than chia or flax. They're 100 percent raw, and you can also produce naturally occurring plant-based protein powders.” This is probably because the amino acid ratio of hemp seeds is more like complete sources than any other vegetable based protein.
Many people are eating high protein, low carbs to achieve the maximum nutrition with the lowest amount of fats in the body. Hemps seeds are about 30% protein and 40% healthy fats which help us stay full longer and give us energy to go hiking, surfing, rock climbing, or whatever may tickle our fancy.
"The hemp oil has a wonderful balance of omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids in very large amounts," Benhaim said. When turned into an oil hemp seeds are an easy way for us to reach our daily amounts of omegas. Hemp seed oil works amazing in salad dressings, dips, and smoothies; seamlessly subbing in for other oils in our tried and true recipes.
Dense with essential fatty acids, ingesting hemp seed oils can help to treat countless common skin ailments like eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, lichen planus and more. Specific research also shows that regularly ingesting hemp seed oil can improve the symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
The demand for hemp continues to build as countries in Europe and states in North America legalize cannabis for recreational use. Growing hemp is exceptional for the environment and versatile. Australia also happens to be one of the best places to grow the crop, making it a possibly great export item for the continent. Australian farmer Harry Youngman elaborated,
"Demand is building internationally for hemp as a source of paper, clothing, building materials, fuel and as a food. We're really hoping for approval to allow hemp as a food so that Aussie farmers can build their businesses and capitalise on the pent up demand."
Despite all of these amazing facts about healthy hemp seeds, it still remains illegal for consumption in Australia due to the Food Standards Code. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) have done extensive studies on the plant and Benhaim hopes that come April new legislation regarding consumption will come to light. Currently Hemp Foods Australia is legally creating these food items from hemp seeds and exporting them all over the world, but he hopes that soon the people of Australia will be privy to the super food.
When asked about the possible changes for hemp in 2017 a spokesperson from FSANZ said "the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation will consider the issue of low THC hemp as food at its April meeting when the results of the study on the effects on roadside drug testing are available". However, FSANZ could not comment on whether the Forum will approve or reject recommendations.
Hopefully with more education things can change, since as Paul Benhaim so rightfully puts it, “From a scientific basis, there is not a reason why hemp shouldn't be allowed as a nutritious food like it is used throughout the world."